We can’t be there in person to help and support you in a moment of crisis, but there are other options available to you if you can’t turn to someone you trust. By giving us your postcode (or one nearby to where you are right now) we can let you know about services in your area. Remember: this moment will pass; you won’t always feel the way you do right now.
If in doubt always call 999.
You can also sign up to Alumina, our online support for mental health and wellbeing here:
Looking after yourself is SO important!
But what does this really mean?
Annoyingly, we can’t rely on someone else to do our homework or take our exams for us… equally we can’t rely on others to look after our emotional and mental health being either!
We are responsible for us. If we choose to stay up all night messaging on our mobile phones and have to get up for school early in the morning, we can’t blame our mates for ‘making us’ message them back – it was actually our choice. In the same way if we are struggling, we can’t rely on someone else to wave their ‘magic wand of wellbeing’ to make life seem easier and more manageable.
As hard as it might be to hear: you are responsible for you. You’re not responsible for your friend, even though you care about them greatly; and they aren’t responsible for you.
When it comes to looking after ourselves, there are 5 dimensions of our own care we need to consider...
This includes our diet, sleep, dental care, sexual health and physical wellbeing. It might mean making sure you sleep more or eat better, or visit the doctors when you've got a problem (instead of ignoring it and hoping it will go away).
What does being physically well mean to you? How can you practise more self-care for this body of yours that is the vessel in which your whole life is held (because you really can’t do much without it!)
What beliefs do you hold? Are they in any tension with how you live out your live and faith? If so, does that cause you any difficulty?
How do you nourish your soul? How is your spiritual life challenged, changed, guided?
Where do you best connect with God? Is God quietly prompting you to find a bit more space and time for Him? Is He asking something more of you?
It’s not just about school and homework! Outside of what you are studying, what makes your brain work hard? How are you encouraging your personal growth? What about the people you hang out with – are they all the same as you or are you finding friends from new cultures and countries in order to expand your horizons?
Have you got a good network of people you can talk to when you're having a bad day? Can you trust them to hold your personal stuff without blabbing it around? Whether you are an introvert or extrovert; having one person you can trust is WAY BETTER than knowing hundreds of people who aren't really your friends.
Do you keep track of your emotions or do bad days always take you by surprise?
Many of us don’t make enough time for a daily ‘check in’ with ourselves to see how we are. We probably text our family or BFF to see how they are, but do we ask the same question of our self?
Before you even get out of bed, scale your emotions – 1 being horrendously low and 10 being the best feeling ever! This is your marker for the day – if it’s low then it won’t take much for you to feel lower. But what actions can you take to make it higher (remember it’s no one else’s responsibility but yours!) Looking at the list above – go through each one and consider a couple of things you can do make a bad day slightly better.
Try the same before you fall asleep – reflect on your day and be thankful for all the good things that happen (no matter how small they were). It is proven that an attitude of gratitude really does improve mental wellbeing!
Try these too...
Bethany Murray has been known to SelfharmUK for a long time and is an inspirational young person who has overcome some challenging things in her life. She shares openly with us about her struggles with PTSD for PTSD Awareness Day.
I am many things. I’m a student, a daughter, a godmother, a lover of house plants, tattoos and the colour yellow. I am also someone with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
Today is PTSD awareness day. Have you heard of PTSD? What comes to mind when you think of PTSD?
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event. This could include a serious road accident, a violent or personal assault such as a sexual assault, mugging or robbery, a serious health problem or childbirth experience. Many people have heard of this disorder in the context of soldiers returning from war, but like any mental health condition, anyone of any gender, age or walk of life can develop PTSD.
It is usual for anyone who witnesses or experiences a traumatic event to have a reaction to it in the initial period afterwards, termed an acute stress response. But not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD. PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a traumatic event, or it can occur even years later.
Here is a list of a wide range of symptoms associated with PTSD. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms:
I experienced traumatic events in childhood, and I still live with PTSD and it’s impact on my life. For me, telling someone about what I had experienced was extremely difficult. Despite this, it is incredibly important to talk to a trusted adult if you have experienced or witnessed anything upsetting, or if you think you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD.
Getting help isn’t easy, but it’s the start of a journey to freedom from the overwhelming all-encompassing hold of PTSD. Treatment for PTSD can involve talking therapies and you may be offered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you to think differently about what happened and find new ways to overcome it. It can also be treated with something called EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing), which can help reduce distress from bad memories.
You can find out more information about getting support for PTSD and PTSD Awareness Day on the PTSD UK site.
More young people than ever feel lonely. A recent survey by the BBC suggests that 40% of 16-24 year olds would say they feel lonely.
Most of us check our social media pretty often, and it looks like everyone else is having an amazing time doesn’t it? Pictures of them with friends at a party, on holiday with their family, chilling with friends that we don’t know, checking into the cinema with their partner…it looks like they aren’t lonely at all doesn’t it?
The reality is far from it – some people have many acquaintances to make it look like they aren’t lonely. They fill their lives with people who aren’t really friends and people they possibly don’t even trust much because they want to block out that feeling of loneliness.
Some people struggle to make friends and their online friends are the ones they talk to most because they can ‘pretend’ to be something they aren’t… but then end up feeling lonelier.
The common factor in the increase of loneliness in young people, is the rise in social media use because it doesn’t often create deep, meaningful friendships that are based on trust and shared lives. Ironically social media makes us feel lonelier, not less lonely.
So, let's look at some of the ways you could combat feeling lonely:
1️⃣ Seriously reduce your social media time.
2️⃣ Do something that creates connections with people face to face.
3️⃣ Find a hobby group – fitness, craft, music?
4️⃣ Eat with your family at mealtimes.
5️⃣ Say ‘yes’ to trying something new.
6️⃣ Connect with cousins, siblings, grandparents and wider family more.
There are lots of Organisations out there that offer opportunities to join groups or clubs in order to connect with other young people your own age. Do some research in your local area to find out what's going on and what you might like to get involved with.
If cooking's your bag - here at Youthscape, we offer something called Open House, which is a cookery project run by Gemma, our Drop-in Manager, and a professional chef! Over the eight weeks of the course you will learn to cook different dishes, improve your kitchen skills, and host a dinner for a disadvantaged group from the local community...
The aim of the project is to develop confidence in abilities, build relationships, integrate into our daily after-school Drop-in project, engage with a different group in the community, and through this become more connected, improve self-esteem, and begin to gain the skills that will enable young people to recognise and manage their feelings of loneliness and social isolation now and in the future.
If you are a young person aged 11-15 and living in Luton, why not get in touch with Gemma to find out more about our Open House project?
No one is to blame for feeling lonely: it’s not your fault, nor is it anyone else’s; so – this week; begin the journey to feeling less lonely.
Looking After You
Looking after yourself is SO important! But what does this really mean?